Fanbase

A comprehensive mobile platform for booking and attending sports matches, uniting clubs and their fans through the latest mobile technology.

Introduction

The challenge

All businesses, from start-ups to the world’s largest sports clubs, work tirelessly in their attempts to foster a family atmosphere where staff, clients, and fans will always feel valued. But to build such a tight nit organisation takes something special, so perhaps that’s why it was two sports loving brothers who came to Bad Dinosaur with their project for Fanbase, a unique platform that unites sports clubs and their fans.

Existing problem

While clubs may talk-up their close relationship with supporters, they often struggle to paint a proper picture of who those people really are. For fans, this distant relationship can be both tiring and ostracising, especially when many have spent their whole lives supporting their club.

Proposed solution

The key to Fanbase would be in the development of a platform that would allow clubs and fans to come together through the proper management of data and today’s easy-to-use communication tools.

Workshop sessions

Russ was excited to see the in-depth research that Ali and Michael had conducted, and was impressed by their understanding of the MVP (minimum viable product) methodology—a more affordable and strategic product containing the types of features that will satisfy early customers and stimulate future growth. Also, the inroads the brothers had made into connecting with their target market and commercialising their product were some of the signs of success and dedication we at Bad Dinosaur look for when deciding whether or not to take on a new project.

User personas

We outlined the personas targeted by the Fanbase web-app

The Fan

Jessica

Wants to be recognised and feel part of the action. Also wants a simple, easy way to get their tickets for both home and away matches.

The Club Manager

Stephen

Wants to engage with their members and upsell extras such as hospitality and sponsors. Wants an easier and cheaper way to sell away tickets.

I met Russ and thought, thank God, this is finally exactly what I’ve been looking for!

Alasdair Crawley, Co-founder, Fanbase

Alasdair Crawley, Co-founder, Fanbase

I feel like we found each other at just the right time in the project, and I felt we had that perfect team fit with Ali and Mikey from the start.

Russ Peterson, Director, Bad Dinosaur

Russ Peterson, Director, Bad Dinosaur

Design

When we started designing the Fanbase app, we looked at other apps in the same space, like Forza and Ticketmaster, and also took inspiration from FIFA and game UI design. We discussed the different things that already existed with Ali and talked about what he liked and disliked in these apps.

We have worked from the start to design the app so it can display the user’s chosen team colours, but it has been hard to make that work seamlessly with other things in the design, like text colour. This is probably a challenge that will have to be tackled down the line as we work on the project.

The first clickable prototype was a bit different from the current design. The clickable was made with quite a lot of use of the chosen team colours. Later, it was re-designed with a more sleek design, so now the colour is only used for borders and small bits and pieces. At the initial stage we had several features, for example a forum feature, that we didn’t go ahead with. Those could be explored down the line if Ali and Michael decide that they want to go in that direction, and it would be great to explore the colour options in the future as well.

The app has always been designed as mobile-first, as it’s designed to be comfortable and easy to use for clubs and fans alike. The fans have always been the main priority, and it has been important to us and Fanbase that they will be happy to use it and that the app will be a way for clubs to value their fans.

A particular high was when Mikey and I had put some of our savings into a clickable prototype, and that was probably our second best moment, as Lindsay at Bad Dinosaur had taken everything we had in our heads and put it into something we could use, and that was a serious wow moment. But that was quickly followed by our work with Russ and Nicky where we decided what was needed to make the first full version of Fanbase the best it could be, and that was, well, a very different kind of wow moment.

Alasdair Crawley, Co-founder, Fanbase

A particular high was when Mikey and I had put some of our savings into a clickable prototype, and that was probably our second best moment, as Lindsay at Bad Dinosaur had taken everything we had in our heads and put it into something we could use, and that was a serious wow moment. But that was quickly followed by our work with Russ and Nicky where we decided what was needed to make the first full version of Fanbase the best it could be, and that was, well, a very different kind of wow moment.

Alasdair Crawley, Co-founder, Fanbase

Development

Development

By the end of 2018, Bad Dinosaur had completed the interface prototype for the Fanbase platform, and in early 2019 the two teams began weekly focus meetings to develop the MVP. These meetings allowed Nicky, Bad Dinosaur’s longest standing developer, to thoroughly brief Ali and Michael on the technical aspects of the project, providing essential feedback to the brothers in order to streamline the process.

For the brothers, the weekly Friday meetings at the offices of Bad Dinosaur not only allowed them to get thorough answers to any technical questions they might have, but it also allowed them to have an influence on the development process, providing the platform with the feel the two had envisioned.

As of today, clubs can manage fan data, sell digital tickets to fans that can be used to enter the stadium, provide digital first upgrades to sponsorships and hospitality. There’s also a lot more exciting features to come as Fanbase moves beyond MVP.

I absolutely love sport, and so when the opportunity came up for me to work on the Fanbase project I basically demanded to be a part of it. The meetings we had together made my job easy, as Ali and Michael really understood the value of focusing on the platform’s essential features.I absolutely love sport, and so when the opportunity came up for me to work on the Fanbase project I basically demanded to be a part of it. The meetings we had together made my job easy, as Ali and Michael really understood the value of focusing on the platform’s essential features.

Nicky Holloway, Developer, Bad Dinosaur

Nicky Holloway, Developer, Bad Dinosaur

The sessions were always focussed, we left with very few questions or things to follow up with as we usually got through it in the session. I think it was due to the fact we were very clear on what we wanted and Nicky was very specific in the questions he needed answered.

Alasdair Crawley, Co-founder, Fanbase

Alasdair Crawley, Co-founder, Fanbase
Storyboard

How did we build it?

The Fanbase QR scanner

At first we considered integrating outside hardware to scan tickets, but quickly decided that an integrated QR scanner would require less app build and less work from the user, as most people already own a mobile phone that would facilitate this function. The proposed solution meant that anyone that can log in to Fanbase on a mobile phone could use their device to scan tickets at an event.

The QR scanner was actually the first function we built, because we knew that if that didn’t work we would have to rethink the whole project. However, both in-house and in-situ testing showed us that its performed as expected. Read more about our user testing of this feature below.

UX testing

Ali and Michael have worked with Linlithgow Rose F.C. to get feedback on their ideas and test the app. The app has been used by real people at a real event, which gave us a really good picture of the possible challenges with it. During the platform's trial at a Linlithgow home fixture, the QR scanner was quick to recognise tickets at the stadium entrance, which was really great to see. It was interesting to see the often sceptical attitude that some of the fans had towards a digital ticket, as only paper tickets had been used at this club previously. We would like to help Fanbase change that idea and prove that digital tools can be used in this context.

We built a high level of complexity into the QR code for security purposes but at the test match it sometimes was too complex, as a few customers had issues with scanning. The scanning function in the app was also affected by physical user variations, like the brightness and the angle of the screen. The minor issues experienced by a small proportion of test users did, however, provide a useful set of data for making improvements to the scanning feature in the post user testing phase. This would ensure the reliable function of the app going forward.

Overall, it has been great to have Linlithgow Rose F.C. as a beta tester for this feature. Their patience and interest has allowed us to test a lot of things as we go along and hear the reactions of real users. On the whole, it’s been a fantastic relationship for Fanbase to have established and we have also benefited from it greatly while developing the app.

Storyboard

I surprised myself as to how calm I was on the day. We had a team of 6 there on the night, 3 superb interns at Fanbase, myself and two members of Bad Dinosaur. We knew they were coming down but to have them there really set them apart in my mind from any other agency or developer I’ve worked with. And the team at Linlithgow have an exciting vision for their club to become a truly engaged and community driven outfit, so we’re delighted to be shoulder to shoulder with them on that journey.

Alasdair Crawley, Co-founder, Fanbase

I surprised myself as to how calm I was on the day. We had a team of 6 there on the night, 3 superb interns at Fanbase, myself and two members of Bad Dinosaur. We knew they were coming down but to have them there really set them apart in my mind from any other agency or developer I’ve worked with. And the team at Linlithgow have an exciting vision for their club to become a truly engaged and community driven outfit, so we’re delighted to be shoulder to shoulder with them on that journey.

Alasdair Crawley, Co-founder, Fanbase

The future

Looking forward, Ali and Michael have big plans for Fanbase. From further testing on match days, to promoting their idea to sports clubs at home and internationally, the brothers are fully commited to selling their idea using the MVP built by the team at Bad Dinosaur. Further developments will focus further on their aim to combat the growth of sedentary lifestyles by helping sports clubs engage with their local communities and encourage sport and active lifestyles through both digital and face-to-face conversations.

We are very excited to see where the brothers can take the Fanbase platform and look forward to continuing the strong partnership we have established with them over the course of the last couple of years.

Fanbase

Startup stories

Part of being in a family is knowing that no matter how far apart you might be geographically, you’re never truly separated from those you care most about...

It all started with a cup of coffee

It can for you too

Fanbase

Startup stories

Part of being in a family is knowing that no matter how far apart you might be geographically, you’re never truly separated from those you care most about...

It all started with a cup of coffee

It can for you too